The President of the Republic, Mr Danny Faure, participated in the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Heads of State and Government Debate early this morning. Under the theme, “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action”, the debate includes the virtual participation of world leaders.
Addressing the President of the General Assembly, fellow world leaders and the UN Secretary-General, President Faure stressed on the need for a revitalised and inclusive multilateral system that involves every sector of society. The President shared how Seychelles has taken proactive measures in response to the economic devastation caused by COVID-19.
“Seychelles stepped up to the challenge despite being faced with an economy crippled by the collapse of tourism, our primary industry. We introduced a series of unprecedented measures to save the lives of our people and mitigate the economic destruction, minimising unemployment and securing workers’ incomes. To ensure an inclusive approach that factors in the specific needs of different stakeholders in Seychelles, we consulted with the private sector, trade unions, civil society and inter-faith organisations as required,” said President Faure.
“We were joined in this undertaking by the tourism businesses, a key driver of Seychelles’ economy and who continue to play an instrumental role in drafting Seychelles’ tourism comeback together with Government. However, everything Seychelles has done to date to minimise the impact of COVID-19 will not be sustainable in the long-term because of the depletion in our foreign exchange reserves. We estimate it will take at least five years for Seychelles to return to where we were before COVID-19, assuming the world gets a vaccine that ensures the novel coronavirus is no longer a global public health threat,” said the President.
President Faure also called on stakeholders to provide global solutions to address the socio-economic impact of countries affected, especially Small Island Developing States. “We call on all relevant stakeholders to take immediate, substantial and tailored actions to allow us to manage the crisis and address its grave socio-economic impacts while preserving our development achievements and reinforcing our resilience to future shocks,” urged the President.
“Such actions should include building capacity for small island developing states to cope with and recover from external shocks such as pandemics like COVID-19, other disasters, and impacts of climate change. International financial institutions should re-examine their eligibility criteria to tailor SIDS’ access to concessional financing to take into account our extreme vulnerability to economic, climate and now public health shocks that put us at particular risk and disadvantage,” he added.
The President also advocated for urgent climate action, saying, “While the effects of climate breakdown will continue to impact us long after we have dealt with the pandemic, COVID-19 presents a new opportunity to take action on climate change as countries make drastic changes to infrastructure, jobs and investment. Achieving the 1.5-degree Celsius goal remains critical if we are to leave no country behind. The drop in greenhouse gas emissions and improvement in air quality during the pandemic is only temporary, and research shows it will have a negligible impact on the climate crisis. We do not know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, but we know we are heading towards a temperature increase of approximately 3 degrees Celsius if business continues as usual. This will have devastating consequences for us all, especially SIDS and other vulnerable countries.
“If we are going to talk about a multilateralism that counts for everyone, it must deliver an equitable recovery that prioritises innovation, science, health, wellbeing, opportunity and a liveable environment for all countries and societies,” the President concluded.
The 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 75) opened on 15 September, with the High-level General Debate taking place from 22 to 26 September and concluding on 29 September 2020. The UNGA is held annually in September where all 193 Member States of the Organization join together to discuss and work on a wide array of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations.
Source: State House, Office of the President of the Seychelles